PCGS SITE SHOWS CONSTRUCTION AS 1914. NRHP, Department of the Interior shows it built 1900.
Known as: first : Carnegie Library of Bolivar; Second: Southwest Regional Library; third: Our Library.
Some History of the place:
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
or by appointment.
Closed on:Thanksgiving Break, Wednesday through Sunday, November 26-30
Christmas Break, Wednesday, December 24, 2008-Thursday, January 1, 2009
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY:
If Bolivar schools are closed because of weather, the library will also be closed.
TELEVISION CREW FILMS SEGMENT IN POLK COUNTY
The Polk County Genealogical Society Library turned into a television studio for a few hours Wednesday morning, June 2, 2004. The first floor of the building was the back drop for a segment for the public television series "History Detectives."
In November 2001, PCGS started the application process to get the PCGS Library building, formerly the public library, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lou Kemp was the coordinator of the process.
The building was built by a grant from Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie Corporation
in 1914/15. T. H. B. Dunnegan donated the land where the building is located.
OLD LIBRARY IS COUNTY'S FIRST HISTORIC SITE
By Linda Fuerst
After a year and a half of research, the latest project of the Polk County Genealogical Society has reached a successful conclusion. The former Polk County Library building on the Bolivar square, now the home of the genealogical society, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is the first building in Polk County to be designated as an official historic site.
The members of the society started the application process for the historic designation in November 2001. Lou Kemp acted as coordinator for the project, gathering the necessary documentation about the role of the library in community life./p>
"It had always been a dream of mine to get this building named as a historic building," Kemp said. "The other members of the society were a lot of help; every time they were looking in old newspapers for someone's obituary, if they saw something about the library, they copied it, too. We gathered a lot of information."
The building was built in 1915, funded by an $8,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie Corp. The Bolivar Library Board was headed at that time by T.H.B. Dunnegan, who also donated the land where the building is located. The architect who designed the building, James Heckenlively of Springfield, was also involved in the design of the Shrine Mosque, St. John's Hospital and other Springfield landmarks.
"This kind of research wasn't that difficult for us," said Susan Sparks, president of the genealogical society. "We have experience in finding the history of people; it wasn't that different to find the history of this building."
An application for a historic site has to go through the state Office of Historic Preservation, which approved the Bolivar application in April. The state office forwarded the request to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., which officially added the library to the National Register of Historic Places on July 17.
"There are two ways to be designated as a historic site; either through architectural significance or through social significance to the community," Sparks said. "We went for the social significance of this building in the life of Bolivar and Polk County."
The building is much less elaborate than many other Carnegie libraries in other parts of the country, but Sparks said she doesn't mind.
"They only had $8,000 to build with, so they spent their money on structural stability, not on decoration," she said. "They put big steel beams in the floor and in the ceiling, and that's one reason the building is in such good shape. I'm thankful for that."
Sparks and Kemp both said they hope other owners of downtown buildings will get involved in historic preservation.
"We just felt this building was important to the landscape of the square and the life of the community," Kemp said. "That's why we wanted to save it."